gary manx

Gary Davies and LLinos Jones-Edwards on thier way to a class win on the Manx National (

It has been a very busy couple of weeks for club members as the rallying season really picks up, with road rallying calendar and stage rallying calendars both full of activity, offering competitors a number of events to get their rallying fix on. Club members have seen action here in Wales and overseas recently, with the Border 200/trophy rallies taking place in the lanes of North wales, as well as the Rally of the Lakes and the Manx National rallies taking place a short ferry ride away.

                Held over a two-night format, as a one off for the 2018 season, the Welsh Borders car club held the Border 200 rally over the 4th, 5th and 6th of May, the first two-night rally since the Cilwendeg some 15 years ago. It proved to be a very popular event with the entry filling fast and attracting competitors from all over the country. Lampeter and district motor club were represented by the driver of car 3, being Andy Davies who, despite having a broken foot and having to use crutches to walk around, took his familiar IDZ Subaru Impreza up to the Oswestry start with now regular navigator Michael Gilbey. IDZ had recently been in the hands of TEG sport for some upgrades and Andy was keen to see how it performed with them. Cadog Davies was another having a crack at this event, he was once again navigating for Richard “Ty-capel” Williams in Richard’s Mk2 Ford Escort.

                The rally’s format this year was made up of two nights competing in the lanes, as well as a test on a go kart track at the beginning of the second night. All in all, there was over 200 miles of competition for competitors to take on, a challenge that everyone looked forward to and couldn’t wait to get started.

                The first night of competition featured plenty of tight section where crews picked up penalties, Andy and Michael were in battling for overall positions after setting some excellent times on the rally’s opening sections. At the first petrol halt at Guilsfield they lay in an excellent third overall, only 22 seconds off the event leaders, Andy’s foot clearly having little or no affect on his driving performance, they were keen to carry on the second half at an equally competitive pace, but it was not to be as the car damaged one of its driveshafts which resulted in retirement from the event. That wasn’t to be the end of their weekends sport though as they returned the following night for the trophy event.

                For Richard and Cadog their first night of competition saw them hold seventh overall and fifth in class at the end of the first night after setting excellent times on the rally’s opening night, despite the fan stopping on the escorts engine causing the car to occasionally run hot.

                The second night of the rally began with a test at a go kart track in Rednal, and Richard and Cadog set an excellent time of 2 minutes and 51 seconds, which was joint third quickest. Unfortunately, their event also came to a premature end as the cambelt broke on the escorts engine, bending the engines valves in the process and forcing them into retirement, a great shame as they were fighting for a podium finish.

                On the second night of the rally (5th and 6th of May), the organising team held a trophy rally, open to competitors that hadn’t been fortunate enough to finish the 200 rally. Andy and Michael managed to fit a new driveshaft onto IDZ and were out for another night’s sport, a night which turned out to be a very successful a venture for them as they set blistering times on the nights clocks, holding a good lead at they arrived at the petrol halt at Llanfair Caereinion, before setting off for the second half, where they continued to set excellent times, resulting in Andy and Michael achieving their second win of the year together (Bro Caron being the first) and managing a winning margin of 4 minutes and 32 seconds in the process. A great achievement by them.

                The other rally that took place that weekend was the Killarney rally of the Lakes, out in Ireland. It’s a very popular event that attracts a strong entry where competitors get to compete on some very famous stages such as the Tim Healey Pass and Molls Gap. Llion “tractor” Williams once again ventured out to the island to navigate for Duncan Williams in Duncan’s historic specification Mk2 ford escort. A ceremonial start in Killarney town centre on the Friday night kicked things off, before the real action began on the following Saturday, with the first run over Molls Gap, followed by the Tim Healey Pass. On these stages Duncan and LLion took the class lead, a lead which they held for the duration of the event. They were to be in third overall on the historic rally after the first stage, but climbed to second on the following, and held that position throughout the weekend. Cods Head and Ardgroom were the other stages tackled before a final stage through Kilmakilloge harbour to finish the day.

                On the Sunday it was another run over Molls Gap to start the day before the mountainous Beallaghbeama pass, a loop that was repeated after a service halt. Following that it was over to a stage called Brook Hill and then Rossanean. It was to be another very successful outing for Duncan and LLion, as the pair once again achieved a class win and managed second overall in their hard charging escort, having set excellent times over the rallies 16 stages.

                The following week saw club members head out to the Isle of Mann to compete on the Manx national rally and the on the Chris Kelly memorial rally. The two rallies run together over the same stages but the Manx national is a National A status rally and the Chris Kelly memorial is a national B status event. Entered into the Manx national were Dylan Davies and Llion Williams who were out in Dylans Subaru Impreza. They were seeded at 22. Also competing was Dylans father Gary Davies, who had entered this event with Llinos Jones-Edwards, Gary had last done this event thirty years ago with Llinos and had built a historic specification Mk1 ford escort (in two weeks!) for this rally. They were seeded at 51.

                Entered in the Chris Kelly memorial were Owen McConochie and Mark Hughes, who had hired one of Dylan’s Subaru Imprezas for the event. They were seeded at 103.

                There rallies both featured the same 16 stages over two days beginning on the Friday, with some stages taking places after dark. It was to be a short rally for Dylan and LLion as they set off and managed to climb inside the top ten after the first three stages of the rally but retired on the fourth stage after damaging the car. A great shame as they were no doubt on course for an excellent result. Gary and Llinos held forty-fifth overall and first in class over the days first three stages, a great start for them on what were difficult conditions with rain falling heavily on the days opening stage, not ideal conditions to get used to a new car!

                On the fourth stage of the day (Baldwins 1) they found their rhythm and climbed ten places to thirty-fifth. The following stages were a repeat of the first four, and with every stage Gary and Llions climbed their way up the leader board and ended the day a further nine places higher than when they began, finishing the first day’s stages in an excellent twenty-sixth overall.

                Keristal 1 was the first stage on Saturday, and Gary and Llinos climbed yet another place after this opening stage, now holding a very respectable twenty-fifth overall. They climbed a further three positions over the next two stages, a position which they held up until the fifteenth stage where they made one more place, which they held over the last stage (St Marks 2) to finish in an incredible twenty-first overall and winning their class in the process, as well as being the second historic specification car. An excellent result for a pair that have not competed together for a number of years and Gary himself has not competed on a rally since the Bro Caron road rally of 2010, a result that showed he still has the excellent pace that helped him achieve four straight wins on the Bro Caron as well as many others.

                On the Chris Kelly Owen and Marc got themselves off to an excellent start by setting times well within the top twenty, with sixteenth quickest time on the first stage of the rally, Creg-Ny-Baa 1, great going for Owen as his previous experience has been in a front wheel drive Nissan Micra and he seemed to have no trouble adapting to a more powerful four-wheel drive vehicle.

                They spent most of the first day of the rally well inside the top twenty, only dropping down to twenty-first overall on the second stage before climbing back up immediately after and ended the first day of the rally in an excellent fourteenth overall.

                On the second day of the rally they continued to set excellent times and found themselves breaking into the top ten on the early stages of the day, but it was not to be as on stage fourteen of the rally, Balladoole two, they retired.  Prematurely ending what had been an excellent performance.

                The final event contested by members over the past couple of weeks was the Plains forestry rally, an event based in Welshpool and organised by Knutsford and District motor club, it was to be the fourth round of the BTRDA rally championship as well as the fourth round of the Welsh forestry championship. Two club member ventured up to Welshpool to compete on the event, and that was Mark Glennerster and Eryl Evans, both of which were to be navigating, Mark in car 10, a Fiesta S2000 for Stephen Simposnand Eryl would be navigating for Keith Parry in Keith’s Subaru Impreza. They were seeded at 13 amongst the 125-car field.

                The rally was made up of eight stages in the Dyfnant and Gartheiniog forests, with the first couple taking place in Dyfnant. After these two stages Keith and Eryl held tenth overall, a great start to the day. Stephen and Mark also had a good start to the day where they were twelfth quickest.Then it was the first Gartheiniog stage where Keith and Eryl dropped down the order a little and set the joint twenty-ninth quickest time, this dropped them to thirteenth overall in the rally standings but was still early in the rally and there was plenty of competitive miles left of the event to recover time, something which they did on the immediate following stage by setting the eighth quickest stage time. Stpehen and Mark continued to do well and set the fourteenth quickest time on the second stage, this saw tem lay in thirteenth overall.

                It was back to Dyfnant for the next two stages, and Keith and Eryl continued to make up time in the stages, which lifted them up to twelfth overall, where Stephen and Mark were incredibly consistent with their times which saw them hold onto twefth overall. The rally then headed back to Gartheiniog for the final two stages. On these stages Keith and Eryl recorded the seventh and sixth quickest stage times, which saw them finish in an excellent ninth overall at the end of the days stages. Stehpen and Mark to continued to set impressive times on these final stages and finished in an excellent eleventh overall at the end of their day.

                Many thanks must go to for the use of their image for this report.